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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars18
4.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 5 October 2009
This is the real Italy, from an eating point of view. The photos bring you as close to the food and people as possible without being there, not to mention being very helpful in knowing how a dish ought to look. Each recipe is situated in its local context, often connected to friends and real individuals the authors have come to know during their frequent trips. It also contains tons of useful tips on what ingredients to buy to get authentic flavour. So far I have made the pork chops with cannellini beans and the pasta with anchovies - both were simple and as delicious as my memories of Italy. If you have to buy one of the River Cafe cookery books, or one Italian cookery book, for that matter, this is definitely the one!
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on 5 October 2009
First of all, this is an incredibly beautiful book. The photographs of the food, Italy, the people and the two
authors Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers that accompany the recipes are great. I've already cooked a few of the dishes and
what you see is what you get.
I've got all the River Cafe books and this is the best because it puts you in Italy side by side with the cooks, the vintners, the
restaurant owners, the farmers and cheese-makers.
It's amazingly easy to use - the recipes are clear and uncomplicated. If you stay true to Rose and Ruthie's ingredients you can't
go wrong.
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on 26 April 2011
This book offers a great range of Italian classics, but is a bit more modern in its collection. By that I mean the classics are interspersed with "typical" Italian preparations, mainly Tuscan. It goes beyond the sampling of dishes that a one time traveler may know and gets into the boiled octopus with potatoes, penne con stracotto (penne with beef braised in Chianti), and roast guinea fowl stuffed with lemons. That is to say, it gets into what you might find on the table for lunch on a Sunday afternoon at your Italian mother-in-law's house. Of enthusiastic note, this has a section on gelato (gelato al gianduiotto anyone?) and desserts including strudel, panettone, and ricciarelli the Siennese almond meringue!

The photography in the book comes from a wide range of photographers, all of whom are among the best in the business. That may also be why it seems like such a hodgepodge of photography. The lack of a cohesive art direction therefore to me detracts a LOT from an otherwise blemish-free book. This is why I can't give it five stars. For me, aesthetics have a great influence on a cookbook, so I believe the job should either be on the ball or not at all. (It's not a complete disaster, don't get me wrong! It's just mildly annoying. I still love the book and still HIGHLY recommend it!)

This book is for someone who wants a solid reference of Italian cooking, home style.
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on 22 March 2010
This is a super book full of 'I want to make that now!' recipes.
It's also a good read with lots of info on the places the food
originates from. Recipes used have all tasted really authentic.
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on 5 October 2009
When I first looked through this cookbook I immediately got that Italian feeling - the photographs are stunning and just reading a few of the anecdotes put me in the mood to cook. I had a dinner party on the weekend and chose all the dishes from this book - and it was a huge hit - everything tasted delicious and all my guests raved about it! I served Swiss chard malfatti, sea bass baked in salt and grape foccaccia which was still warm from the oven - yum! Can't wait to try out all the other recipes.
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on 31 October 2009
I spend a lot of time living in Tuscany and so am aware of the seasonality of food here and even grow as much food as I am able to. This book is an absolute joy. The recipes are clearly sourced from Italy and are really authentic.
The recipes are linked to the seasons and the availability of ingredients and really help me to decide what to make when, for example, fennel appears in abundance and is reduced in price accordingly. I am about to order another copy to have in England as I will find it difficult to live without now!
PS The restaurant recommendations are really interesting - they could create a very effective 'foodie' tour guide.
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on 6 December 2013
Yummy all the way through, authentic dishes and well explained.
You will become a better Italian style cook if you read and use the recipes.
If you enjoy Italian food not just pasta dishes you'll be dying to try so many of the available tastes and aromas in this classic book.
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on 26 September 2009
Having read the rave reviews about this book in the papers I was expecting a 'classic' book and a serious heavyweight guide of Italian style cuisine. Instead I find a very ordinary book with very ordinary recipes - many of which have appeared before in various guises in their smaller paperback offerings. Perhaps it was my mistake that I was expecting something like Stephanie Alexander's 'A Cook's Companion' or Stephane Reynaud's 'Ripailles' which offer so very much more than this. Yes, the book has great photos and certainly it is printed on high quality paper but as an overall cook book it is better as a guide line for the novice and perhaps should have been billed as such. As such I find it a huge disappointment from a restaurant that really does have a great name and reputation. Sorry but it just doesn't cut it.
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on 5 January 2010
We have long been fans of River Cafe books. The first one was not too user friendly but the recepies were so good you persevered. After that, they have produced books that are interesting & different, easy to follow and invariably work. This latest edition concentrates on the classic dishes and as well as great menu ideas is a good read at the same time. This is a must for all enthusiastic cooks - and you don't have to be a professional cook to get excellent results. Highly recommended.
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on 8 June 2012
A wonderful authentic Italian cookbook! A must read for people interested in more than just penne with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
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